I am pleased (and honored) to announce that I’ve been invited to join the NetApp A-Team. This is an interesting next step for me because my team and I have already been regularly partnering with NetApp, and I have been very impressed with NetApp technologies. More than any other company that I’ve worked with, NetApp has done an excellent job with customer engagement, and we’ve participated in those engagement opportunities whenever possible. This has included working with NetApp product owners on feature and usability assessments for beta products, participating in customer listening surveys, attending EBC visits and providing feedback, and numerous other activities.
Up until mid-2017, I had never really heard of the A-Team. I soon realized that I had actually been reading their members’ blogs, listening to their podcasts, gleaning valuable information from their NetApp Communities posts, and interacting with A-Team members and advisors for quite a while. These talented and enthusiastic men and women are doing some great work, and even if you don’t know who the A-Team is, you probably benefit from their efforts. When the invitation came to join this team, I was excited, to say the least.
My IT background is a long and rambling journey. I started off at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) doing everything from web to COBOL programming. We had a mainframe that nobody would work on, and as a student, I was the lucky one who got that gig. Eventually, I transitioned to the infrastructure side of the house at LANL and even did a not-too-brief stint at managing the enterprise IT infrastructure team. About seven years ago, I got the opportunity to head up the effort to consolidate several storage platforms onto a single enterprise platform. The customers for this storage included Exchange, Oracle, SQL Server, and ESXi, so it was quite a challenge.
My experience with NetApp solutions dates back to when I first worked with ONTAP 7-Mode version 8.0 on a pair of v3170s. With the normal bumps and learning curves, that initial platform has expanded into a NetApp production infrastructure that now consists of multiple ONTAP 9 multi-node clusters with everything from FAS8000 units up to the latest A700s. Each subsequent release of ONTAP has really improved the platform’s reliability, flexibility, and scalability. I have been pleased with how NetApp products have met the challenges of the new requirements I have thrown at them.
Going forward, I hope that my position on the NetApp A-Team will help my organization continue its successful relationship with NetApp, and I hope that I can “pay forward” some of the guidance and help that I’ve received from the contributions of A-Team members in the past. I really see some big challenges when it comes to how we, as formerly “just storage administrators,” transform into “data visionaries,” and NetApp has an extremely compelling strategy for that future. From adoption of hybrid cloud, to integration of ultra-fast storage technologies such as NVMe/flash, and improving our data protection and management strategies, we’ve got a lot of work ahead, and I’m looking forward to working with NetApp as a member of the A-Team!